Letter: Governor can help save Yellowwood State Forest

From: Julie Lowe


On a cold, rainy morning two of my Sierra Club friends and I canvassed Nashville, two days before the timber sale of 299 acres of Yellowwood State Forest on Nov. 9. State forester Jack Seifert, of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, was going to auction off our state forest as he has done before and as he will do again. We were trying to stop him.

We talked to Nashville shop owners and knocked on residents’ doors when a man invited us to come inside out of the cold. We sat down in his living room and he said, “I want to hear what you have to say.” He was the Nashville town manager, Scott Rudd. He showed us a full-page ad that had been placed in the Brown County Democrat, showing that 228 university and college scientists from Indiana have written letters to Gov. Eric Holcomb in support of saving Yellowwood State Forest. They wrote about the diversity of the forest that is unique in our state, and they supported leaving this rare, old-growth forest intact. While we were amazed at the ad and hoped that it would not fall on deaf ears in the Statehouse, Rudd discussed a different plan. We all agreed that the bottom line was money.

State officials do not seem to care how the people of Indiana feel about Yellowwood State Forest. It does not matter to them that the forest is part of Brown County people’s homes. The forest is what they see out their back doors and windows, and it has always been part of the Brown County landscape. People come from all over the country to witness the beauty of fall in Brown County. Tourism is vital to Nashville, and if we can demonstrate how cutting down our forest will negatively impact us all, then we can change their minds.

Loss of tourism money for local businesses should matter to state Rep. Chris May, R-Bedford, and state Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, so we ask them to bring this to the attention of Holcomb. Here in Columbus, my son and I have written letters to state Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, state Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, and the governor for years, but we still see the logging trucks rolling down the road stacked with 100-year-old trees. In fact, Holcomb didn’t bother to respond to my last letter himself; he let Jack Seifert respond for him.

The governor would be wise to read the data for himself and speak for himself.